Starting an online auto parts business is fun, exciting and challenging. It isn't too difficult but takes time to get established and build trust in the automotive community. Patience and persistence are key in this business and will pay off in the end. There are many tools available at your disposal that will aid you in your endeavor to start an online auto parts business.
Items you will need
E-commerce cart solution
Put together a business plan outlining your plan of action, goals, capital source and advertising ideas. A good business plan will aid you in obtaining loan money if it's needed.
Choose a name for your online auto parts store and apply for a state business license. The business license will give you a tax ID that will allow you to purchase parts at wholesale prices.
Purchase a domain and hosting for your business through a website such as godaddy.com. Domain and hosting providers typically have cart solutions for your e-commerce business.
Find automotive parts dropshippers and distributors. There are many directories available to you online that provide guides to dropshippers. (See Resource 2.) A dropshipper is a distributor of goods that ships parts on your behalf so that you don't have to stock anything in house. This lowers the amount of overhead that you have and lowers the amount of risk you are assuming.
Add items available to you from the dropshipper to your online inventory so that customers see that your selection is vast. This will increase credibility and give customers choices.
Advertise your automotive parts business on automotive forums to increase website exposure. Also attend automotive car shows to increase exposure to your new business. Simply set up a booth and display the most popular parts on the market for people to see and you should start seeing some more traffic to your site.
When the orders start coming in, simply contact the dropshipper and tell them what they need to ship to the customer, and they'll take care of the rest.
Starting a business from scratch requires a lot of exposure. Tell everyone you know about it, make business cards to hand out and be as patient as possible because it may take up to one year to start seeing a profit.
Eighty percent of small businesses fail within the first year of business. To avoid becoming a statistic, put together a solid business plan and don't give up when it doesn't seem like it's working.